tv PBS News Hour PBS November 17, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: an idaho man who allegedly fired shots at the white house has been charged with attempting to assassinate the president. good evening, i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, margaret warner gets the latest on the incident from charlie savage of the "new york times."n >> brown: then, we examine today's grilling of energy secretary steven chu over federal backing of a now- bankrupt solar-panel company and we assess the government's role in helping private startups. >> woodruff: from japan, miles o'brien reports on scientists looking for ways to lessen the damage done by tsunamis.
>> taro araka is working on a system, holosteeled pylons on the sea floor that telescope when the air is pumped in. >> brown: we update the occupy movement as thousands of protesters march in the streets of new york, los angeles and dallas. >> woodruff: and we close with another in our "economist film project" series. tonight, a profile of an artist who uses garbage to create portraits and to transform lives in brazil. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> intelligent couting technology is making its way into everything from cars to retail signs to hospitals; creating new enriching experiences. through intel's philosophy of investing for the future, we're helping to bring these new capabilities to market. we're investing billions of dollars in r&d around the globe to help create the technologies that we hope will be the heart
of tomorrow's innovations. i believe that by investing today in technological advances here at intel, we can make a better tomorrow. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: gunshots near the white house led to a charge today of an attempted assassination of president
obama. margaret warner has the story >> warner: president and mrs. obama were thousands of miles away in san diego last friday night, when shots rang out onn: historic constitution avenue just south of the white house. but it wasn't until tuesday that the secret service discovered two bullets had actually hit the white house. the exact location wasn't confirmed. but yesterday workers were on the second-story truman balcony examining a window of the president's living quarters. the bullet was stopped by ballistic glass. investigators now say they believe the shots were fired from about 750 yards away by a gunman in a car on constitution avenue between the white house and the washington monument. shortly after the shooting, police found a car abandoned a few blocks away. an a.k. 47-style assault rifle and empty shell casings were inside. by sunday, they had linked the car to oscar ramiro ortega- hernandez, a 21-year-old man
from idaho. u.s. park police issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of carrying a deadly weapon. >> this is a man who discharged a rifle in downtown d.c. i think that speaks volumes. warner: just hours before the shooting, acting on a report of suspicious behavior, police in nearby arlington, virginia had detained ortega-hernandez near this abandoned house. they held him briefly, photographed him, then let him go. after a nationwide man hunt, employees at this hotel near diena, pinnsylvania yesterday thought they recognized the man in the photos. pennsylvania state police lieutenant brad shields: >> personnel at the hampton inn in white township contacted state police, and reported that mr. hernandez, ortega hernandez, was in their lobby. state police personnel responded to the hampton inn, and took mr.
hernandez into custody without incident. >> warner: in his appearance in, federal court in pitburgh today, hernandez was not asked to enter a plea to the assassination charge. for more, we go to charlie savage, who is covering this story for the "new york times." charlie savage, welcome. explain to us how-- what has been treated as a shooting incident near the white house turned today into this deadly charge of attempting to assassinate the president. >> reporter: i think there are sometimes shooting incidents heard near the white house that turn out to be noct or just random-- you know, this is washington, washington, d.c. what turned this from a report of shooting in the vicinity to an assassination charge was evidence accumulated that bullets had been deliberately fired at the white house, at the residential section of the white house, and they had been fired by someone who-- once he was identified, his friends in idaho told investigators he had been
fixated on president obama, he had considered obama to be the anti-christ and he had even told some of them that he thought he ought to kill him or hurt him or stop him in some way. and the accumulation of this detail eventually convinced authorities, evidently, that this was a deliberate attempt to kill the president, not something random. >> warner: what other details emerged in the criminal complaint today about what actually happened friday night, who first saw, heard the shots and how it developed. >> reporter: we know gunfire was heard a little after 9:00 p.m. on friday. that was, of course, the federal holiday. the obamas were out of town, although we don't know if their daughters were in the white house at the time and the secret service won't say. what was made clear was there were several witnesses who saw this dark honda accord pull up on constitution avenue in front of the white house and gunshots were fired out of the passenger-side window. we have the person who was in the car behind it said this and
someone on the street also said they saw this happen and the car sped off. a few minutes later, about six blocks away, the driver of the car abandoned it on the lawn of the national institute of peace, right by the bridge to the tapoemac river, and inside this car, authorities found a semiautomatic rifle, nine spent shellcasings, lots of other ammunition, brass knucklees, a baseball bat, a wal-mart receipt, and a jacket that had l.a. written on it in the form of the los angeles dodgers baseball team logo. and it turned out this car had a license plate from idaho. they were able to link to to mr. org tagga-hernandez and he had been photographed twice friday wearing that jacket, once when the arlington county police stopped him and let him go because he committed no crime at that point and was unarmed but they did take his picture. they went to a wal-mart and
found a surveillance tape of him wearing that jacket around 5:00, four hours before the shooting. >> warner: what else have you or the complaint been able to learn about oscar-hernandez, his background? >> reporter: we know he has had a troubled life. he has been in scrapes with the law in three different states. his family is from idaho, and it seems he's owned this weapon-- or a weapon much like this-- say his friends for quite a long time and he sounds like a somewhat troubled individual. he was convinced the government was conspiring against him, and over the past year, he became increasingly more agitated about this. and he became to believe, his friends said, that president obama was the source of the government's problems. and, in addition, that obama apparently was the devil, the anti-christ, and so forth, and needed to be stopped. >> warner: let's talk about security at the white house. explain to people not familiar with this location on constitution avenue how someone
actually can get close enough to the white house with an assault rifle to be able to shoot into a white house window. >> reporter: well, at the whouite hse window, of course. its seemte to have been an increblcy lueky shot that he actually managed to hit the glass from 750 yards way in what was essentially spraying the building drive-by style. although, he did have a scope on the rifle. >> warner: i mean, what kind of security is there and what kind of exposure does the white house have to the public street? >> reporter: the white house can be seen from constitution avenue, which is sort of the main street along the drive, which is lined by historic buildings and monuments. the ellipse is a round, grassy area that's between the south lawn of the white house and constitution avenue. an a fcross rom that is the washington monument on the national mall. so this is a sort of very osturesque part of washington,sq kec. tourists love tta photographs of this. there are not trees at that itnt tha would block your view
of the white house because that's yet fams t shots of the white house are all taken-- that and the other side of the building on pin pen avenue, which has long been closed to car traffic. >> warner: but are there agents all around here? >> reporter: there are tons of both uniformed and undercover secret service agencies. the joke is probably two out of every three homeless peopley of you see around there are actually secret service agents. there are lots of uniformed secret service agents in cars >> reporter: blafl, and i know the secret service likes to keep mum, have they said publicly or privately they think this incident exposes any sort of security lapses, anything that needs to be corrected? >> reporter: i spoke to someone who was part of president obama's detail with the secret service until he left the government service in may and he said what is likely happening now say comprehensive review. they're probably looking at videotapes of the incident, since that whole area is
blanketed with surveillance cameras. he said probably the focus on the review would be the response of it, how the shooter was able to get away and escape arrest for days rather than how they could have stopped someone from pulling up in a car and shooting randomly at the building in the first place. he said the role of the secret service is not to prevent every bad thing from happening. human nature is too unpredictable. there are bad people who want to do bad things. the role of the secret service is to mitigate bad things so you don't have bad outcomes. he pointed out it was mitigated. the protection on the white house stopped the round from entering the residence. it's true sometimes president obama goes out on to the truman balcony and other people as well but he said the security procedures would have been different at moments when the president is outside versus inside. >> warner: what happens next legally? >> reporter: mr. ortega-hernandez will be brought back to the district of columbia. we had been prosecuted here where the incident took place and at some point we'll expect
he'll introduce a guilty or not guilty plea. >> warner: thank you very much, charlie savage of the "new york times." >> reporter: thank you for having me. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour": grilling the energy secretary about a solar panel firm; preparing for the next tsunami; marching against greed and finding art in the world's largest landfill. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: wall street had another day of the jitters over debt problems here and in europe. down 134.86 at 11,770.73 the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 135 points to close at 11,770. the nasdaq fell more than 51 points to close just below 2,588. there was no public sign of movement by congress' deficit supercommittee today. instead, 72 house republicans sent the panel a letter, opposing any tax increases. it underscored the division in republican ranks over raising taxes, as part of a deal to cut deficits by at least $1.2 trillion over a decade.
democrats face their own divisions over major spending cuts. italy's new government won an overwhelming vote of confidence from parliament as the prime minister unveiled his plan to save the country from bankruptcy. mario monti pledged to overhaul the pension system, fight tax evasion, and reform welfare among other things. monti told the italian senate ahead of the confidence vote that leaders have no choice but to act now. >> ( translated ): we must commit ourselves to ambitious goals on balancing the budget, on the decrease of the ratio between debt and gross domestic product, but we won't be credible if we don't start to grow. if we are able to take advantage of this opportunity all together to start a constructive dialogue on general goals and decisions, we will be able to redeem the country and rebuild confidence in its institutions. >> holman: the rescue plan was announced as anti-austerity demonstrations took place across
the country. the gatherings turned violent, as thousands of protesters clashed with riot police in milan, rome and turin. president obama arrived in bali, indonesia today for a summit of east asian nations. it's the first time a u.s. president has taken part in one of the group's meetings. it comes as the u.s. is trying to build up regional alliances to counter china's growing influence. earlier, mr. obama rounded out his visit to australia by addressing u.s. and australian troops in darwin. he'd already announced the u.s. military will deploy more forces to australia. in syria, government troops launched a series of new raids today. they were aimed at hama province, where army defectors attacked a checkpoint on wednesday, killing at least eight government soldiers. we have a report narrated by jonathan rugman of "independent television news." >> reporter: this could have been a jihadist video.
but it's not afghanistan or iraq. it's apparently a bomb attack on army convoy in syria. in homs, the epicenter of the violence, government tanks are seen firing in built up areas. and then a tank is hit. more cries of god is great, while russia's foreign minister is talking of civil war. >> ( translated ): this is already completely similar to a civil war. >> reporter: in the capital damascus, president assad's opponents burn tires. the french and moroccans have withdrawn their ambassadors while the arab league has given syria three days to stop appalling scenes like this in daraa where it all began. syria's northern neighbor turkey is also playing a dangerous game-- harboring rebel commanders yet calling upon the
world to mediate. >> ( translated ): we have to see the tragedy in the area, to hear the screams, and urgently take measures to stop the bloodshed. >> reporter: the opposition are the arab league will visibly stay in the lead though. it's meeting syrian opposition leaders in cairo on sunday and its rich gulf states could persuade the russians not to veto a new u.n. resolution. but neither the so-called free syrian army nor their political allies enjoy the legitimacy they seek. scenes like this mean that economic and diplomatic pressure are mounting, even if nobody yet knows just what would replace it. >> holman: the european union's foreign policy chief appealed today for additional action to make syria stop its crackdown. and china left open the possibility it might reverse course and support u.n. sanctions. from louisiana to the carolinas today, they tallied the deaths and damage from deadly storms
overnight. at least six people were killed and dozens hurt in a series of tornadoes. scenes like these today from davidson county, north carolina showed smashed houses and wreckage strewn across the countryside. the storms also knocked out power to thousands of people. sponsors of california's proposition eight-- a statewide ban on gay marriage-- won a round in their legal fight today. the state supreme court allowed them to defend the ban in court even if the governor and attorney general won't. last year, a federal trial judge struck down the marriage ban, saying it violated the civil rights of gay citizens. backers of the marriage ban now want a federal court of appeals to accept today's state court decisionand allow them to pursue the case. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff... >> brown: and we turn to a political storm over the government's backing of a now-bankrupt energy company.
for the first time energy secretary steven chu testified today before a congressional committee looking into his handling of a loan guarantee to failed solar panel company solyndra. from the outset, he defended his actions. >> the final decisions on solyndra were mine, and i made them with the best interests of the taxpayer in mind. and i want to be clear. over the course of solyndra's loan guarantee, i did not make any decision based on political considerations. my decision to guarantee a loan to solyndra was based on the analysis of professional experienced professionals and on >> brown: solyndra had been touted as an example of the country's green technology future. secretary chu was on hand in september of 2009. as vice president joe biden appeared before company employees via video link, announcing a loan guarantee for solyndra under the new federal stimulus law. nine months later in may of 2010, president obama toured the company in fremont, california.
in all, solyndra received more than $500 million in federal aid. but less than two years later, in august of this year, solyndra filed for bankruptcy. today, secretary chu blamed the company's failure on the economics of a global market. >> well, it is extremely unfortunate that what has happened to solyndra, and we-- i but when the bottom of a market falls out and the price of solar decreases by 70% in two and a half years, that was totally unexpected. and so fundamentally, this company and several others got caught in a very bad tsunami, if you will. >> brown: but house republican see a very different picture. fred upton of michigan: >> the number of red flags about solyndra that were raised along the way, many from within d.o.e., and either ignored or minimized by senior officials is astonishing. >> brown: among the warnings say republicans, a 2009 email between energy department staff
suggesting solyndra was likely to face severe cash-flow problems. florida republican cliff stearns chairs the house energy and commerce subcommittee that held today's hearing. >> so the bankruptcy was predicted two years ahead of time. when you signed off to the loan guarantees, were you aware of this? of these emails and of these concerns from d.o.e., and >> it wasn't predicting bankruptcy of the company. it was predicting a cash flow issue that, upon further analysis, did not appear. and in fact, it did not appear in reality. >> brown: republicans also claimed that both the initial loan guarantee and subsequent decisions were made on a political, not strictly business, basis. they cited an email released by the committee last week suggesting that george kaiser-- a major solyndra investor and obama donor-- was asked by the white house to delay news of layoffs until after the 2010 midterm elections. texas republican joe barton:
>> you know who george kaiser is, i'm sure. >> yes. i know now. >> you know that he was a major investor in a venture capital firm that had a major stake in solyndra. you knew that. >> not at the time of the evaluation of the loan, not at the time of the restructuring. i know now what his connection, what his role has been. everybody and their dog at d.o.e. knew who he was and knew what he was involved in. >> reporter: but chu insistd throughout the hearing there was no political influence in the department's decision. >> who put the pressure on, you or them, to delay divulging that knowledge till after the elections? >> there was no pressure. i was not part of that decision, and i certainly would not have been in favor of that decision. >> reporter: democrats on the committee charged republicans with playing politics. henry waxman of california: >> all of these records show that the decision to award a loan guarantee to solyndra was based on the merits, not political considerations.
it's time for house republicans to stop dancing on solyndra's grave and start getting serious about energy policy. >> reporter: chu was also repeatedly pressed on why he approved a restructuring of solyndra's loan that allowed two private investors to be paid off before taxpayers. >> we had two choices. we either had to stop the loan, which would make solyndra go into immediate bankruptcy with a half-empty factory, half- completed factory. or we could say we can continue on the contract of the loan, which was to build this factory. once the factory was complete, there was-- solyndra would have a fighting chance of continuing, or it could offer that factory sale as a whole unit. >> brown: throughout today's hearing, chu stressed that helping solyndra was just part of a larger energy strategy. >> the stakes could not be higher, when it comes to the clean energy race, america faces a simple choice: compete or accept defeat.
i believe we can and must compete. >> brown: and the energy secretary also said he continues to have the backing of the president. the solyndra story has also prompted some big questions in its wake: should the government help spur or back certain kind of energy companies? and can it do well? we explore that, with: eileen claussen, president of the center for climate and energy solutions which works to inform energy and environmental policy. and robert bryce, senior fellow at the manhattan institute and author of "power hungry: the myths of 'green' energy and the real fuels of the future". claw i'll start with you. critics of what happened at solyndra-- and we heard it from republicans today-- they said this is this shows government's inability know when to invest and how to do it well in these kinds of technologies. >> i think of all of the loan guarantees given under this program-- which i should point
out which-- the law supporting it was signed by a republican president, george bush, and a republican congress-- but that aside, i think it's important to note that there are two, i think, out of 38 that are in this kind of condition, one of which went bankrupt, and one of which i think is very close to it, not nearly all. so a couple mistakes, yeah. >> brown: you think there's a case to be made for this kind of investment? >> i do. i think this is not the kind of thing that venture capitalists are going to do because the time frames are very long, and because the capital requirements are very large. if we are going to move to a clean energy future, i think there is a real role for government here. >> brown: robert bryce, what lesson do you draw from the solyndra story so far? >> well, i think that it's-- if you look at solyndra, and you look at the loan guarantee program in general, i think that it is clear that there needs to be some reform. look at the sheppard's flat wind project in oregon. it was a subject of a white house memo that was published
last year. it was written last year by larry summer talking about the subsidies being given to the project developers. one of those project developers-- the main one-- is general electric. it's a $2 billion project, about 800 megawatts of wind capacity, and yet the government provided a billion dollar loan guarantee to general elect, one of the largest financial sefortses companies in the world. once the project is completed early next year, g.e. and its partners, who cl google, will get a $490 million cash grant. this is not the proper role of government, and i think-- in that case, it's clearly just the worst kind of corporate welfare. >> brown: the lesson you draw is the government should not number this kind of business whether it's solar technology, any of the energy sectors? >> well, look, if i were energy secretary, i would say let's have fairfield, no favor.
let's eliminate all subsidies and let all these different sources compete on their merits. i think the problem with the solar business-- and the obama administration is being pilloried on solyndra-- in all of this we have forgotten the issue of scale. the u.s. gets at least 7,000 times more energy from hydrocarbon than all solar. i think we're paying attention to the wrong source right now. >> brown: and eileen claussen, are you saying this is precisely the source we should be paying attention to and the government should be involved? >> absolutely. if you look at the power sector-- and i'm sure robert bryce knows that-- over the next 30 years we are going to be replacing almost all of the existing fleet. i would like to see it replaced with the most efficient, effective, and clean technologies possible. in order to do that i think it is wise to invest in different technologies. look, i know that mr. bryce likes natural gas. a lot of the technology came out
of government research, so government can do more than solar. i mean, government can do research related to fossil fuels as well and make things better. nuclear, there's a lot of stuff there that could be improved. >> brown: what about that, mr. bryce. isn't it the case that government is already involved in so many different ways in all kinds of sectors of the energy industry. >> well, look, there's no question about that. and i am adamantly pro nuclear. i think if the u.s. is really serious about reducing co2 emissions, then we should be aggressively moving towards nuclear and in particular modular reactors, and if possible, fueled with thorium. i think this is tremendously positive. but the reality is right now that nuclear is priced ow of the market. why? because of low-cost natural gas. exleon said they could not build nuclear plant in the u.s. with natural gas prices below $8. the reality is the shale revolution that's now under way for both shale oil and shale gas, is the best news in the u.s. energy sector since the
discovery of the east texas field in 1930. and if you talk to the international energy agency in paris, they say the u.s. is now reducing its carbon dioxide emissioning faster than is europe. why is that? because of low-cost natural gas. and europe has a cap-and-trade system gloin glown the natural gas we have debated on this show. i focused it again on the government's involvement in all of these things. >> fair enough. >> brown: eileen claussen, what about what we heard from secretary chu at the end there when he said, "when it comes to the clean energy race, america faces a simple choice-- compete or accept defeat." now, this is a global market. and i think he's talking primarily about china, a few other countries, where they're going down this path. >> there's no question about it. and they're doing it in a very direct way. there are subsidies. there's government policy to really support clean energy, and i'm not saying that we should do what china is doing. but i do think it is a
competition. i do think if we had demand we have innovation capabilities here, second to none. why wouldn't we want to compete? >> brown: mr. bryce, why wouldn't we? if china is in the game and it's a global comp dispigz they get backing from the government. >> absolutely. i'll respond, and i respect miss claussen's position, but what's the most admired company now in the united states or even around the world? i think it's clearly apple. what does apple do? they design their products here in the united states and they assemble them and manufacture them in china. where's the outrage in the green left about the fact that all of these cell phones, all of these exurktz all of our iphones, ipads, all these other technologies are being made in chine is that what i hear in terms of this clean energy and solar panels and all these other things that we have to make those here in the united states. to me the rote rick is remarkably similar to what we have heard in the past from the corn-et cetera noel scam bers the evils of foreign oil.
i don't see much difference. why is it okay for apple to manufacture all their products overseas and that's okay but somehow now we're supposed to be autonomous or we're all supposed to produce all of our own solar panels? it doesn't make any sense. it's a global market. >> brown: you're shake your head. clearly, you don't like this analogy. >> no, i actually would like to see much more of it made in the america. i think that's the way we generate jobs here, and that cook true for apple products, as well as for clean energy. i think we really need to build a manufacturing base in this country if we want the economy to grow. and there's no reason why you should exclude clean energy from that. >> brown: at the same time, briefly, you're saying that safeguards could be put in for the kinds of-- any potential problems that you see. >> absolutely. i also think there are a wide number of different technologies that should be looked at. i think it is important. i like nuclear, also, and i like natural gas, also. i think there are improvements that could be done in those areas as well. and i think there is a role for
government. >> brown: all right, we will have to leave it there. eileen claussen, robert bryce, thank you both very much. >> thanks, jeffrey. >> woodruff: and to a very different kind of science story: how researchers in japan are trying to limit the most catastrophic damage from a tsunami. "newshour" science correspondent miles o'brien files the last of three reports from japan. >> reporter: yoshiko kiuchi remembers march 11, 2011 as if it were yesterday. "we got a warning that tsunami would come in two minutes," she told me. "so, we escaped by car in a rush, literally with little more than the clothes on our back." her home, her neighborhood, in the coastal town of arahama are now gone, pressure washed by the epic tsunami. she lives in temporary housing now, but comes back here
regularly to gather what she can out of what remains of her garden. "i will take these flowers to my temporary house," she said. "i will plant them in the planter there." nearby there is plenty of evidence the japanese are working hard to clean up and rebuild. but how? the tsunami, not the earthquake, is linked to nearly all the 20,000 deaths here. and building coastal towns that can repel giant waves is not easy or cheap. that is what they are working on here at the port and airport research institute about fifty miles south of tokyo. it was open house day when we were here-- a chance for people to see and feel how powerful even a scaled down version of a tsunami can be. but it is not just for show. >> all right, go. >> reporter: taro arikawa is an engineer here.
when he is not drenching the public, he is working on a pneumatic breakwater system-- hollow steel pylons buried in the seafloor that telescope when air is pumped in. how quickly do they come up? >> three minutes. >> reporter: wow. in wakayama harbor, they tested a full scale prototype in rough seas. once they popped above the surface, the pylons reduced the size of the waves by half. so it is possible to conceive someday a tsunami barrier for japan? >> yes, maybe. >> reporter: really? >> and i will continue to study the purpose to withstand the tsunami. so, i we will succeed to construct the tsunami barrier for the future. >> reporter: but at no small cost, arikawa says a system to protect this one harbor would cost 10 billion yen or $130 million, but they may be worth the money.
coastal engineers professor akio okayasu is working on tsunami protection ideas at the tokyo university of marine science and technology. he is creating a detailed database of the inundation from the great tsunami using volunteers to chart the flotsam from the high water marks up and down the east coast of japan. with 5,000 readings and counting, he has found some clear cut evidence that breakwaters do indeed work. komiashi bay was protected with a breakwater that apparently reduced the wave height by nearly two thirds. >> we believe it did help reduce the height of the tsunami inside of the bay. >> reporter: it took a little bit of the power out of it? >> yeah, the energy. >> reporter: but he says breakwaters and seawalls are just part of a system. after all, they cannot build a huge concrete wall all around
japan. the system, says professor okayasu, must include the people. >> if the people don't evacuate, the system doesn't work anyway, so we need to prepare. how can we make the people feel easy to evacuate? >> reporter: that is what they are studying here at oregon state university's hinsdale wave lab. >> and one thing that our research is looking at is the role of vertical evacuation. going up into a building or onto an earthen mound that is still within the inundation zone, still you're still going to be in the flooded zone but you are much safer just by going up. >> reporter: they created a scale model of seaside, oregon-- population 6,400.
watch what happens when big waves roll in, then fed that into a computer model. >> the current strategy is only to go up into the hills. >> reporter: and if everyone in seaside on a summer day did that, cox predicts 1,700 people would perish because they would be unable to get to high ground in time. >> but if we adopt his strategy of vertical evacuation then those numbers could change. >> reporter: if the town had some strategically located towers in the inundation zone, the predicted casualty count drops to 200. cox believes it is time to write a tsunami building code in oregon that embraces vertical evacuation. >> part of it could be either retrofitting old buildings, it would still have to withstand the earthquake from the subduction zone. and it could be building new buildings that are specifically purposed for vertical evacuation. or it could be modifying plans for future buildings.
>> reporter: the town of cannon beach, oregon wants to do just that. the $4 million city hall it would like to build would double as a tsunami shelter. in japan, they have about a dozen vertical evacuation structures in tsunami zones. and they have invested much time and money into insuring their high rise buildings do not fall during an earthquake. i went to the place they call e- defense outside kobe. it is home to the largest seismic shake table in the world. engineer takuya nagae gave me a fascinating tour deep in the bowels of this massive $400 million facility. >> 12 pistons support vertically and five pistons move horizontally for each direction. >> reporter: during my visit, they were getting ready for another test. about once a month, big structures are built, furnished and then shaken violently to see what happens. >> we have to break the specimen
in order to find the capacity. not just so it's safe and we can stop. no, we have to continue to see the real capacity the fracture >> reporter: nagae showed me a stark example of what they have learned here. this reinforced concrete school building failed during its shake test, but this one fared much better, it had been retrofitted with steel beams. >> so we have to promote retrofitting as much as possible and we have to enhance the seismic capacity of cities and it's very important to retrofit all type of buildings, designed by old code. >> reporter: but there is another code here-- one that is etched in stone, which i saw in the remote fishing village of aneyoshi. >> the warning on the stone is clear. it says "don't build your homes
at this point." as matter of fact, high water mark for this latest tsunami is about 300 feet down this road. these stones and there are hundreds of them all throughout japan are warnings from the ancestors letting people know and reminding them of the force of nature. mostly they are ignored or forgotten. in this case, in this town, they listened. >> reporter: no one in this town built a home below the old tsunami stone after the last big tsunami in 1933. teruo kimura was born in this house and now watches his grandchildren play in the driveway. before the tsunami, villagers were living on the shore. because the houses were all washed out, villagers built their houses along this street. so, we are lucky to have houses up here. i haven't heard anyone want to live down there." of course, aneyoshi is the exception. people in japan will return to their homes in the lowlands by the sea. but not yoshiko kiuchi.
she lost too many friends and neighbors. her garden, her flowers represent a good memory, but not a longing to return. "no, i was living a happy life," she said. "this was a very beautiful place. i do not want to live here anymore." for many here, no amount of engineering will be enough to wall off the sadness and the fear. >> brown: it's science thursday on our website. you'll find hari sreenivasan's interview there with a chemistry thermodynamics, kinetics and interview there with a chemistry professor who writes poems about thermodynamics, kinetics and atomic reactions. you also can watch miles' previous stories from japan. >> woodruff: much of the action around occupy wall street and similar movements was centered around marches and demonstrations today. but police and protesters
clashed in several cities. life proceeded as normal inside the new york stock exchange this morning. but outside, a day of action dawned for the occupy movement, marking two months since its inception. more than a thousand demonstrators wanted to protest in front of the exchange and at nearby intersections, but were stopped short by police. >> i say these guys make too much money. way too much money. and there's ladies there cleaning toilets for nothing. it's wrong and everybody here knows it, i think the cops know it. >> woodruff: some of the protesters tried to stage sit- ins, blocking access to the financial district. at least 175 were arrested as the day wore on. >> we don't have the money, we don't have the resources and we have to come out here on the street. >> woodruff: the protesters also hoped to block subway hubs throughout the city. police stood guard this morning as commuters pushed by on their way to work.
and plans also called for a march across the brooklyn bridge this evening. about 700 people had been arrested in an earlier march on the bridge. the day of action had been planned for a some time, but it took on increased urgency for the movement after tuesday. that's when protesters were kicked out of their encampment at zuccotti park, in a pre-dawn police raid ordered by mayor michael bloomberg. occupiers vowed today they would not be deterred. >> bloomberg has really put gasoline on the flames and every inch that he pushed us back we're going to go forward a foot. nothing's going to stop us. no matter how many times you try to shut us down we're going to figure out a way to be heard. >> woodruff: and protesters did crowd back into the park this morning, albeit without their tents and sleeping bags. some tried to remove the
barricades that police had erected around the park. this afternoon, bloomberg warned against violence. >> most protesters have in all fairness acted responsibly. but those that break the law, those that try to assault other people, particularly our first responders are going to be arrested. that's behavior that has nothing to do with the first. >> woodruff: the confrontations in new york were preceded by early morning evictions in dallas. city police cited public health and hygiene issues as they cleared the grounds in front of city hall. as in other cities, protesters who did not leave voluntarily were forcibly removed. by the end, 18 were arrested. in los angeles, occupy l.a. joined forces with some 500 labor union members and other community groups to march. at least 23 were arrested without incident after sitting
in a downtown street. in the nation's capital, protesters gathered to march across the key bridge spanning the potomac river. >> financial economic emergency. we can end this emergency for the 99%. >> woodruff: they were being joined by other demonstrators to form a human chain along the virginia side of the bridge. meanwhile, at the university of california-berkeley, student protesters had just rebuilt their encampment on tuesday, when police tore down the tents today and arrested two people. and in nearby san francisco, almost 100 people were arrested on wednesday, when they tried to occupy a bank of america office, demanding money for schools and education. >> brown: finally tonight,
another in our "economist film project" series. tonight's film, "waste land," follows artist vik muñiz from his studio in new york to the world's largest garbage dump in his native brazil. there muñiz examines the lives of garbage pickers, who sift rio de janiero's refuse in search of recyclables. he then creates portraits of the workers using the very materials they've collected. and, ultimately, photographs of those portraits are exhibited in galleries. the directors are lucy walker, joao jardim and karen harley. here's an excerpt. >> right now, i'm at this point in my career, i'm trying to step a little bit away from the realm of fine arts. i think it's very exclusive, very restrictive place to be.
what i really want to do is to be able to change the lives of a group of people with the same material that they deal with every day. and not just any material. the idea i have for my next series is to work with garbage. when you talk about transformation, you know, this being the stuff of art, joining materials and ideas, i don't know. this is the beginning of an idea. i just have the material, and i have to go after an image. did you have a chance to look at that? >> yes. on youtube there's video that was shot at this place.
>> my experience mixing art with social products is that's the main thing. it's like taking people away-- even if it's for a few minutes-- away from where they are and showing them another world, another place. even if the place from which they can look at where they are. you know, it's just changes
everything. wouldn't this be an experience in how art could change people but also can it change people? can this be done? and what would be the effect of this? >> what's really impressive is that it's the largest landfill in the world. >> yit's the largest landfill in terms of volume of trash received daily. there are tons of recycled material purveyed from the landfill.
that's yet pickers are really important to the landfill, because they help increase its exooft. capacity. >> does all rio's trash end up here? >> 70% of rio's trash ends up here, and 100% of the closest suburbs. so the garbage from the millionaire's mansion mixes with the garbage from the poorest. >> for sure. >> don't put this on tv. i'll die. i first came here almost a year ago. my husband became unemployed. and weto pay the bills, keep the household going, support my son. we would get on the bus and people would go like this ( sniffing ) it got to the point they had say, "excuse me madam. do you smell something bad?
it's because i was work at the dump. it's better than turning tricks. i find it more interesting, more honest, more dignified. i may stink now but when i get home i will take a shower and it will be fine. but it is disgusting. it's easy for you to be sitting there to hold me in front of the television and tossing everything in the trash, and leaving it out in the street for the garbage truck to take it away. but where does this garbage go? >> yeah, i love it, too. >> super strong. this is super strong. >> yeah. >> this is very nice, too. >> everyone who goes to a museum, goes up to a painting, and then they stop and start to go like this... have you seen this? everyone does it. they go like this, and then they go back, maybe take a little
step back, and they see the image. let's imagine it's a beautiful landscape with the lake and the man fishing. they look and see the man fishing, and then they lean, and everything vanishes and becomes paint. they see the material. they move away and see the image. then they get closer, and see the material. they move away, and see the idea. they get closer and see just the material. >> yes, we are pickers. we just use recyclable materials ( laughter ) >> i bet you get people to stay much longer at your exhibits than anyone does. they spend so much time look at the image because then they'll see the piano-- they'll look at everything. they will spend hours looking at the same picture. the moment when one thing turns into another is the most beautiful moment. a combination of sounds into
>> brown: all seven photos were sold at auction and muniz donated the proceeds $250,000 to the garbage pickers. "waste land" is being screened at film festivals. you can find a link on our website for a list of dates and cities. and to learn more about the "economist film project" and to submit your own film, head to film.economist.com. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day:
an idaho man who allegedly fired shots at the white house was charged with attempting to assassinate the president. at a house hearing, energy secretary steven chu defended giving a $500 million loan to solyndra, the solar panel maker that later went bankrupt. but he insisted politics played no role in the decision. online, we continue our series of reports about access to dental care. kwame holman has a preview. kwame? >> holman: spencer michels examines cuts in dental benefits in california. plus, our interactive map highlights changes to medicaid dental plans across the nation. that's on our health page. on our world page, we explore the growing problem of kidnapping in venezuela in the news after washington nationals catcher wilson ramos was captured and later released. and patchwork nation looks at some good economic news and pinpoints communities where the unemployment rate is dropping.
all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> brown: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> i mean, where would we be without small businesses? >> we need small businesses. >> they're the ones that help drive growth. >> like electricians, mechanics, carpenters. >> they strengthen our communities. >> every year, chevron spends billions with small businesses. that goes right to the heart of local communities, providing jobs, keeping people at work. they depend on us. >> the economy depends on them. >> and we depend on them.
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